Sanford “Corky” Kurland was born in Cleveland, Ohio and grew up in his father’s grocery market on 93rd & Union, which espoused the same concepts of good food and friendly banter that would become Corky’s trademark. After attending the National Meat Cutting School in Toledo in the summer of 1948, Corky worked at The Miami Restaurant before taking a job at Sand’s Deli. His restaurant career was interrupted in 1952 when he joined the US Army, but after two years he was able to don his apron once again at Sand’s Deli where he learned all he could about the restaurant business.
In 1956, Corky partnered with Lenny Kaden to open a New York style deli and restaurant featuring great deli meats and the Eastern European and American dishes they had both grown up eating. The self named “Corky & Lenny’s “ was an immediate hit. Located in Cedar Center, which was at the intersection of Cedar Rd and Warrensville Center Road, the restaurant bustled day and night. Families started their day over breakfast, businessmen closed deals over lunch, teens flirted over malts and young adults fell in love over a late night dinner.
In 1973 the time was right for expansion and the current location at 27091 Chagrin Blvd in Woodmere opened its doors. It was a success from the start with help from new partner Alex Pearl.
In 1991, the energetic Alex passed away and Lenny felt it was time to retire. Corky did not have to look far for new partners, his son, Kenny Kurland and nephew, Earl Stein had both grown up working in the business.
In 1994 the Cedar Center location closed.
Corky passed away in October of 2011. His vision and commitment are still evident in every plate of food served in addition and every smile that flashes across diner’s faces.
In May 2012 we opened our first express location inside the Horseshoe Casino Cleveland. The concept was such a success that Caesars Entertainment invited us to open in Thistledown Racino which we did in February of 2014.
In the summer of 2014 Earl retired leaving Kenny to continue the traditions of his father.
Perhaps Gloria Kurland (aka “Mrs. Corky) who has worked at Corky & Lenny’s since the very beginning says it best, “We’re iconic in Cleveland. I’ve had so many people pass through my doors, then their children and now their grandchildren. It’s quite an accomplishment. ”